African Lion Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Come learn about the African lion. African lions are a kind of big cat that lives in the wild. This lesson will teach you some cool facts about this kind of big cat, where it lives and what it eats to survive.

What are African Lions?

Imagine quietly creeping through the grasslands of Africa just after the sun has set, when suddenly a loud, deep roar breaks the silence and rolls through the air as a warning! You have just heard an African lion! African lions are big cats that live in the wild on the continent of Africa and have a golden-brown coat of fur.

It's easy to tell the male and female African lions apart. Although the males and females are the same color, only the male lions have a big, fluffy mane of long fur around their head.

Male and Female African Lions
Male and Female African Lions

African lions usually weigh from 265 to almost 420 pounds, but the biggest one ever found was almost 600 pounds! Can you imagine? A typical shorthair house cat only weighs between 8-10 pounds!

Even though they are very big, they do have some things in common with pet house cats! They are both nocturnal, which means they are most active at night. They also have great eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell, which helps them find prey and hunt in the dark.

Like house cats, African lions have sharp claws that are retractable, which means they can pull their claws into their paws and pop them out when they need them. Their claws are made of the same thing your fingernails are made of!

If you've ever been licked by a house cat, you know its tongue is very rough, like sandpaper. African lions have rough tongues, too, so they can keep their fur clean and lick meat off the bones of their prey. In fact, their tongues are so rough that they can lick your skin right off!

Lion Licking Another Lion
Lion Licking Another Lion to Keep it Clean

Although they have many things in common, lions can roar but can't purr like a house cat. Their roar is so loud that other animals can hear it up to five miles away!

What do African Lions Eat?

African lions are carnivores, which means they only eat meat. And although the males are bigger and stronger than the females, the females are typically the ones who hunt for food. They are faster than the males, making them better hunters, though the males may help hunt the larger animals. They will usually work together as a team to catch their prey.

These lions are sneaky when hunting so they can creep up on their prey before it knows they are there. And they have to be sneaky, since some of the animals they eat are faster runners.

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